Climate change is the buzzword of the day.
Yeah, even in the real world, we scrabble about the changes brought on by man's interference in the natural order of our world's weather pattern.
We clear cut the rain forest, and we get global warming. Fossil fuels threaten to tip us over, also, or will we double-tip into an ice age? We've seen that movie, The Day After Tomorrow, whose premise is that global warming will trigger such a catastrophic weather shift that an ice age will devour much of the world as the earth tries to balance the extremes of our human interference. (If you haven't seen the movie, what are you waiting for? Who wouldn't want to watch New York flooded by a tidal wave of immense proportions, then have the flood freeze the buildings into a block of ice? Pretty cool, in my opinion.)
In The Wheel, Chapter 7 reveals the new Niagara Falls. Permafrost has moved down the North American continent, consuming most of Old Canada. The Monarchy (Huh? Where did that come from? I guess that's another book, lol!) that arose in Canada when the United Kingdom disbanded her monarchy, struggled for a century to overcome the country's worsening climate only to find they must join forces with their southern neighbors or wither and die in their independence. The United States wasn't much better off, but they had the Southern states to soften the blow of the worsening weather. The collapse of Mexico's government due to unrelenting drought along the Yucatan, and the subsequent uprising of her people, demanding annexation to the US, created a political climate of cohesiveness never before seen on the North American continent, and a new, stronger nation emerged, the NorAm Union, with essentially three superstates (of course still divided into smaller states and provinces, although those in Canada were little more than representative governmental figureheads, since the population had dwindled to near zero in the face of the permanent winter gripping much of the country). In all this, Niagara Falls was redeveloped into a massive entertainment complex that ate into the rock behind the falls, with viewing tubes visitors could walk through to enjoy the icy spectacle in winter, and the tumbling, ice-filled flows in the short summers.
The world had changed forever, but to those who lived it, it was as it should be. Climate change had brought permanent winter to Canada's heartland and devastating drought to Mexico's lush rain forests, but the result was a new community of North America, one of cooperation and economic development that we can only imagine in our present, 21st century, divisive world.
Besides, it was Levi's birthday. The world had to be perfect, even if the St. Louis Tower was no more than a memory, and Slate and his family could never go home again. Slate and Sundra made certain of that, and even little Caitlan got to have a great time all day long.